Passafire – Longshot
1.) Growing Up
5.) Find My Way
7.) Blow (feat. Mr. Lif)
9.) One Blink
11.) Gone Yesterday
12.) Hard to Find
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: May 12th, 2017
Record Label: Easy Star Records
Official Website: Passafire Website
Originating from Savannah, GA, the four-piece reggae-rock outfit Passafire have established themselves as one of the most respected and hardest working artists within the reggae-rock community after 14 years of breakthrough studio albums and sought after live performances. The band has been hard at work over the past few years crafting their sixth studio album and follow-up to Vines, which was released in 2013 receiving high praise and accolades to include charting at #1 on the Billboard Top Reggae Albums Chart. Passafire has demonstrated their consistent ability to exhibit musical diversity with each release, continuing to grow sonically and bend in and out of a melting pot of genres to ultimately create their own. With these facts at hand, the anticipation for their forthcoming new record has never been higher and fans are extremely eager to hear the new batch of songs in their headphones and at their next set of live performances. Passafire is comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist Ted Bowne, bassist and vocalist Will Kubley, keyboardist and guitarist Mike DeGuzman, and drummer Nick Kubley.
To say Passafire had big shoes to fill and heightened expectations from their fans in follow-up to their release of Vines in 2013 would be an understatement. With each release, Passafire has displayed their ability to get better and better and explore new territory while staying true to their overall sound that’s given them their identity since 2003. The band embraced a more collaborative recording effort in the studio with Longshot, and it translated into the overall cohesiveness of the album.
With Longshot, Passafire has crafted an absolutely enjoyable album, perhaps their best yet and truly gives the listener a unique experience with each listen from start-to-finish.
The afro-poppy kickoff track for the album, “Growing Up,” awakens the listener with environmental soundscapes that gives the musical equivalence of opening the curtains at the window on a bright, sunny day. Uplifting and lively instrumentals soon follow with vocals from Ted Bowne to set the tone for the album. The transition into the title track “Longshot” fits nicely and serves as an anthem for those who will stop at nothing to follow their dreams -– combining an array of instrumentals and a moving chorus including the lyrics “And I know it’s a longshot / But I don’t ever want to stop / Yeah I know it’s a long shot / it’s the only one I got.”
“Drifter” opens with the tastiest, crunchiest of riffs and offers an upbeat tempo throughout with a vibrant offering for the chorus before the high-octane outro.
More groovy, deep bassline-driven instrumentals are introduced for the Will Kubley sang “Bright” — which was also offered up as the third single for the album prior to its release and depicts the complications of maintaining relationships while on the road.
Ted Bowne provides some insight for “Find My Way” which boasts a powerful chorus and epic guitar solo, stating to The Pier in a recent Interview that Incubus’ Brandon Boyd was a driving influence for the track and shows with the sound.
Passafire had the ability to offer a rare collaboration with the underground hip-hop award-winning phenom Mr. Lif on “Blow” -– a brilliantly crafted, up-tempo track featuring additional layers and horns during the emphatic chorus before Mr. Lif enters to sprinkle his trademark style with espionage-themed lyrics shedding light on current events and heightened sensitivity regarding modern surveillance.
“Tacoma” enters with another riff-tastic bassline from Kubley, described by Bowne as tones reminiscent of a Soundgarden or Pearl Jam track derived from the golden-age of 90’s alternative rock. The track focus on the dichotomy and difficulties of balancing life on the road with prolonging and sustaining long-distance relationships. Another powerful and moving chorus bolsters the remainder of the song.
There is not a single moment that doesn’t fit or belong on this record –- each track tells a story and transitions perfectly to the next. With one blink, the 45:54 run-time of Longshot concludes before you can realize what happened, daring the listener to replay the album and do it all over again. At its core, the overarching theme of Longshot details life and its many experiences, adapting from personal hardships, fulfilling new discoveries, staying true to oneself and continuing to grow from all aspects of life. Fire up the album, turn your speakers up and enjoy.
As if they were even capable of anything less, Longshot is truly an achievement and deserves to be in the “Album of the Year” discussion.
Written & Reviewed By: Brian Glaser
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]
Listen: Passafire – “Longshot”
Listen: Passafire – “Bright”
Listen: Passafire – “Blow” featuring Mr. Lif